LOS ANGELES - Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world.
Marvel Comics' Spider-Man is a superhero who connects to people unlike any other comic book character, says fan Daniel Wrobel.
“You cannot really see his face while he is doing his super-heroing. So that is the great thing about him - that anybody could imagine themselves as Peter Parker," he said.
Or as the character Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man depicted as a biracial teen from Brooklyn, New York.
Comic book reader Ryan Groves thinks the timing is right.
“It is about time if you are going to do it for a newer generation or even go with the diversity, then I would definitely go with somebody like that," he said.
Daniel Wrobel agrees.
“It is exciting to see Marvel try to go away with the standard white bread male super hero," he said.
Marvel Comics first introduced Miles Morales in 2011 in an alternative reality storyline of Spider-Man. Also bitten by a spider, he discovered he had super powers including camouflage abilities and increased agility. Marvel is now transitioning him into a new series where he will be Spider-Man, and Peter Parker will be his mentor.
Marvel and Golden Apple Comics employee Joe Slepski have noticed how fans have embraced this fresh face.
“The current up and coming crop of readers are definitely more diverse and so I think image has led the way with this, and Marvel and DC [Comics] are starting to respond in a big way this year," he said.
There is a trend of comic book characters being more reflective of what America is today. Marvel says it wants to introduce more characters that mirror its “broad readership.” The hero Thor is now female, and the new Spider-Man is half Latino and half African-American.
Comic book reader Lily Fierro says America is more multicultural than ever before and popular media need to catch up.
“I think it is a great idea to update Spider-Man, to update all these iconic characters that we have had that are possibly classic all American white males or females. I think it is a good change," she said.
For now, this change is not reflected on the big screen. The man behind the mask in the next Spider-Man movie will still be Peter Parker; but, comic book fans including Joe Slepski are hopeful.
“You have to have a passing of the torch. You have to. Spider-Man is Peter Parker. If there is no Peter, who is a, you know, just a white kid from Queens, if there is no Peter, there is no Spider-Man," he said. "So what they are doing, they have to start there, but will they get to Miles. I totally believe they will get to Miles."
While fans continue to wait for his appearance on film, Miles Morales will take over as Spider-Man in print later this year.